15th September 2021
It’s true, everybody needs good neighbours

We write a lot about how lucky we are to be able to work in such a beautiful part of the world, here at our Steep Marsh HQ in the heart of what we have to refer to as ‘leafy Hampshire’ we are surrounded by rolling pastures, stunning forests and chocolate box villages.

But it’s not just the way the place looks that makes it special, we have some pretty remarkable neighbours too.

Take our friend Jill, a lady of a ‘certain age’ (Jill said we could say this) that almost personifies the word redoubtable, in fact there’s a whole range of words that we could use to describe Jill, determined, stoic, formidable… but we’ll stick with wonderful.

Some time ago, Jill popped over to say hello to Lou and Becky in our display department, they were both busy rejuvenating displays and where necessary, replacing plants that had either outgrown their pots or were looking a little less than pristine.

Jill asked if she could take a few of the weaker looking specimens, and of course we were happy to oblige, particularly when Jill told us that she intended to sell them at a car boot sale and donate the funds to charity. In fact, the bond between Jill and our display department creatives has become so strong that Becky now regularly sets aside a weekly collection of ‘second-hand’ plants for Jill to use.

Many, car boot sales have been attended since Jill first introduced herself to us and Great Ormond Street Hospital have benefited from a great many regular donations.

So far, so heart-warming but you haven’t heard the best bit yet.

Some of the car boot sales that Jill attends aren’t exactly on our doorstep, and in order to get in the queue ‘for the best pitch’, at places like Hayling Island and Alton, Jill and her loyal German Shepherd dog Fizz, have to set off at 3.30am.

And, such is the reputation and loyal following that Jill’s plant sales have earned, people actually wait to buy their plants from her.

Oh, and when we said ‘a lady of a certain age’, we meant it, of course we would never be so indelicate to mention anything as vulgar as birth dates, let’s just say that Jill is in her ninth decade.

But, it’s also clear to everyone that knows Jill that hard work and a good heart certainly help when it comes to looking and acting young!

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